Reinventing Reference: How Libraries Deliver Value in the Age of Google

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Uniquely positioned to connect library users to the information they seek, and thus to the wider world, library staff who serve on the front lines of reference have both the power and responsibility to position the library as an institution that remains relevant and responsive. This collection takes a critical look at the overarching trends that affect current library policy and practice regarding the process of delivering information services, and how factors such as public policy, economics, and popular culture will continue to affect those trends in the future. Library leaders and visionaries from across the spectrum of institutions address such topics as

  • The history of reference librarianship and how it relates to the current landscape
  • Privacy, censorship, and reference ethics
  • The effects of the "born digital" library user on the purpose and function of reference
  • Strategic challenges for reference in the coming decade
  • A reference forecast for 2025

Placing these issues in historical and cultural context, this book offers practical solutions for new paradigms of reference service for all users.

Referencing the Future, by Katie Elson Anderson and Vibiana Bowman Cvetkovic
Part I: Understanding Reference
Chapter 1: A History of Reference, by Julie M. Still
Chapter 2: Terrorism, Privacy, and Porn: Reference Ethics in the Twenty-First Century, by Zara Wilkinson and Vibiana Bowman Cvetkovic
Chapter 3: The Real Reference Revolution: The Digital Library User, by Susan J. Beck
Part II: Reference 2.0
Chapter 4: Reference Service Trends and Forecasts for Academic Librarianship, by Gary Golden
Chapter 5: The State of Reference in School Libraries, by Lawrence V. Ghezzi and Walter Johnson
Chapter 6: The Future of Public Library Reference, by Justin Hoenke
Chapter 7: The Central Image: The Future of Reference in Academic Arts Libraries, by Sara Harrington
Part III: "Dude, Where's My Jet-Pack?" Near Future of Reference
Chapter 8: Whither Libraries? User-Driven Changes in the Future of Reference, by John Gibson
Chapter 9: Future World: Strategic Challenges for Reference in the Coming Decade, by Stephen Abram
LibraryNext: Reference in 2052, by John Gibson
About the Editors and Contributors

Vibiana Bowman Cvetkovic

Vibiana Bowman Cvetkovic is Reference Librarian and Web Administrator at the Paul Robeson Library, Rutgers University, Camden, New Jersey. Her other books include Scholarly Resources for Children and Childhood Studies: A Research Guide and Annotated Bibliography. She has also published in various refereed journals and library and information science publications. At present, she is Chair of the Children and Childhood Studies Area of the Mid-Atlantic Popular/American Culture Association, and an Associate of the Center for Children and Childhood Studies at Rutgers University. She was named a Library Journal Mover & Shaker in 2005.

"The book offers an array of ideas about coming challenges and how reference librarians might respond ... Librarians at all types of libraries will find this book engaging for its discussion of previous and current challenges to reference. Its individual examinations of academic, public, school and special libraries make it a versatile and inclusive work. It also presents excellent new scholarship on the history of reference librarianship, an area in need of such contributions."  

— Journal of Library Innovation

"The variety of intelligent opinions and practical experience shows that the editors selected their contributors well. Change is happening fast, and it behooves all of us to step back, as these essayists do, to survey where we are and how we can find ways, as we have always done, to help our customers to navigate the exploding universe of information in order to locate exactly what is needed and not just what Google hurls at them."
— Catholic Library World

"This is a perfect guide to the past, present, and near future of reference for library students or new librarians."
— Booklist